Table of Contents
- Why are Classroom Rules Important: Benefits Both for Students and Teachers
The main concern for any and every teacher is effective classroom management. Teachers are bombarded with ideas, suggestions, theories and guidance on how to create the ideal classroom environment. At the heart of this worry is rules: process of creating and implementing these classroom rules. Now I want to analyse why are classroom rules important. In this essay I will emphasize how teachers can implement discipline without being authoritarian and aggressive.
Researcher Drew in an article stated that classroom rules are imperative for all ages as they set the right tone for a classroom. However, according to 'Opinion Front' rules are most often seen as bothersome and uncivilized, yet there is no denying the relevance and importance of having rules especially within the classroom setting. From the beginning of time, rules have played an important part in the structure of any society. Even the bible suggests that without rule the people will perish and stipulates the ten commandments to be followed. Society is general exists with rules, even teachers have a code of conduct or regulations which constitute rules to be followed.
Many of us recounted our horrible experiences as children that haunted and even traumatised us in the classroom and now as teachers, we realize that those teachers of our past wanted control to feel justified in their position. We too want that control. Marzano et al. proposed that the most effective aspect of classroom management is creating and implementing rules. However, McEwan outlined that teachers do not get the training necessary for dealing with classroom management which includes rule setting. McEwan further explained that the lack of the appropriate training leads to numerous struggles for control within the classroom and some classrooms 'fall apart'.
So how can we establish this control without being authoritarian, aggressive, or downright cruel. While there are many models of discipline for us to choose from, rules form the core of them. Whether the model we select is low, medium, or high level, it requires students to know what is expected of them, what is inappropriate and what consequences there are.
Kelly describes rules as structure and guidelines that are key to facilitating a positive and productive atmosphere in the classroom. These rules allow students to know what appropriate conduct is and to follow them. In other words, rules form the benchmark for behaviour in a classroom and so is an integral part of effective classroom management. Kelly posits that rules should be general and cover a variety of behaviours and most importantly should be understood by students. If students do not see the reasoning behind setting rules or the importance, they will see them as an annoyance and seek to avoid or break them at every opportunity.
Why are Classroom Rules Important: Benefits Both for Students and Teachers
Statistics provided in an article by Marzano et.al. indicated that implementing rules in the classroom has a significant effect on students' behaviour even though this research did not capture all ages or levels in the school. Despite the support for rules, it is further proposed by Marzano et al. that rules should not just be imposed on students but should be explained to them, allowing them to have an input in the creation and implementation of rules. This will yield positive benefits.
When students understand the necessity of the rules, they will accept it and be more willing to abide by them. In my previous school, upon registering to be a student, parents, students, and teacher had a meeting to go through and sign a behaviour contract. During the meeting, open discussions are held with each student before they signed the contract. They could ask questions about any rule or query any consequence stated. The teacher would then provide a clear explanation to them. At the end they are told that if they were happy to follow these rules and accept what the consequences are, they and their parents can sign. Now even though they did not help to create these rules, helping them to understand the purpose and benefits of following these rules allowed them to feel apart of the whole process. Marzano et al. further purported that discussions with students about rules are useful as students actually know that they will have to live up to certain expectations. The very idea that they could question or challenge something on the contract made them feel that they had an input and it was not just imposed on them. In this teacher can gently remind them throughout the year of the contract they signed.
Another pro of having students involved in rule setting is conformation. They are likely to abide by rules they help to create. In an article by 'Opinion Front' it was stated that an individual is likely to take a path 'which corresponds to its own rules, even though they are contrary to their emotions'. Hence, students are likely to follow the rules they help to set, even if they do not like them.
Involving students in the creation of rules can also lead to a better classroom relationship. Partin indicated that having a mutually respectful and harmonious relationship within the classroom setting will minimize classroom management problems. This I believe can be achieved through involving students in rule setting. When they are involved in the rule creating process, they feel respected and valued.
Minimising anxiety is also an advantage of having students help to create rules. Thinking about the varying needs students enter a class with, adding anxiety will only compound the problems. Many of us can relate to never knowing what a consequence would be for a misbehaviour, when we were students. This was an unnecessary worry. 'Opinion Front' postulated that 'rules highlight the stimuli and the contingencies and following them induces certain emotions and the state of mind, which bring order in one's life and mind'. Hence, anxiety or stress is potentially reduced when students know the rules and the consequences as they were involved in the process and these rules create a structure or routine which most students need.
In the intricate tapestry of education, classroom rules emerge as guiding beacons that illuminate the path towards effective learning and personal development. As this essay has illuminated, these rules extend beyond mere restrictions; they embody the shared values of respect, responsibility, and collaboration that are essential in preparing students for the challenges of the real world. The importance of classroom rules lies not only in their role within the academic setting but also in their lasting influence on character formation and the cultivation of vital life skills. As educators continue to shape the minds of future generations, they must recognize that well-crafted classroom rules serve as the scaffolding upon which a cohesive, supportive, and enriching learning environment is built. By embracing and adhering to these rules, students embark on a journey of growth, empowerment, and meaningful engagement that extends well beyond the classroom walls.
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